‘Walk and Talk’ tour important to market
NUTLEY (Sept. 1, 2017) — This is a compact town of 27,000 people in about 3.5 square miles.
Every Sunday, visitors to the farmers’ market tour part of that town as part of the Walk and Talk program that has become integral to the market.
About an hour before the market begins each Sunday at 9 a.m., interested people meet to walk through town while conversing with an expert in some interesting field, according to Tara Spinelli, who started the program last year.
It’s very popular. Spinelli said the ideal number of walkers is probably about 10 for a good back and forth and sometimes they get more.
Since people walk at different paces, Spinelli said sometimes the groups get spread out. She said she tries to convince the fastest walkers to slow down some.
Spinelli got the idea from a movement in the Midwest called Walk with a Doc in which people can walk with a doctor and ask medical questions.
Spinelli found that to be a worthwhile plan, since most patients complain they don’t get enough time with their doctors, however, she thought having a doctor every week seemed limiting.
“We began last season, sometimes it was a very small group, but it has really taken off this year.”
The farmers market got a state grant. The Walk and Talk program itself doesn’t cost any money, since the experts aren’t paid, but some of the grant money goes toward its promotion.
Some of them do set up a table to continue their discussions, have an activity or or sell merchandise.
Most of the walks follow the same route of about three miles, although one that highlighted the little free libraries that are posted around town did vary.
Another went directly to the community garden.
Local historian Anthony Buccino is a future walk leader.
He says he will “talk Nutley history, the Nutley Sons Honor Roll, and growing up near these parks in the 1960s.”
Other walk leaders include the Nutley mayor and superintendent of schools, a cookbook author, a physical therapist, a dietician from the local Shop-Rite and a health librarian.
A unique one will be a caravan doing public art with chalk
Walk and Talk isn’t the only special program of the Nutley Farmers’ Market.
There is an annual Eco-Fest with music and vendors. Spinelli said the Eco-Fest actually pre-dated the market. She started as a volunteer with the town’s Green Initiative which works with the town’s health department. The farmers’ market was born out of that, she said.
The market is also the site of a Civic Pride Day and a Peach Party. Changes are being made to the annual Food Festival, Spinelli said. “It brings a crowd but they may just eat the free food and the idea is to support the market.”
The remainder of the grant money is used for the EBT machine and double coupons at the market. The music is funded through money the market has raised over the years, Spinelli said.
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